Board Discusses Middle School Reform, Appoints Eight Administrators

May 27, 2009
Board of Education Adopts Process for Filling Board Vacancy, Discusses Middle School Reform, Appoints Eight Administrators

ROCKVILLE, MD—The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, May 26, and, among other items, discussed the school system’s Middle School Reform initiative and approved the appointment of eight new administrators, including two new school principals. The Board also approved a resolution outlining the process it will use in filling a vacancy that will soon exist for the District 5 seat on the Board of Education, as a result of Board member Nancy Navarro’s recent election to the County Council.

In addition, the Board of Education passed resolutions honoring recipients of the 2009 Champions for Children Awards, Asian American Education Association scholarships, and George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy, Inc. High Achievement scholarships, as well as a resolution in recognition of Montgomery County Public Schools’ higher education partnerships with area universities and colleges.

Process for Filling Board of Education Vacancy
The Board of Education approved a resolution regarding its process for filling an upcoming vacancy that will exist in the District 5 seat, as a result of Board Member Nancy Navarro’s recent election to the County Council. The Board announces that qualified residents of District 5, who must be registered voters and live within that district, will be able to apply for the vacant seat through June 12. The Board is anticipating holding interviews of the selected candidates on June 26, 2009, starting around 9 a.m.  The swearing in of the new Board member will be held on July 1, 2009. "We are so proud of Mrs. Navarro's many accomplishments while serving on the Board of Education; she has been a true advocate for the children of our county. We wish her much success on the County Council," said Board of Education President Shirley Brandman. "Although we congratulate Mrs. Navarro on her election to the County Council, we must also work diligently toward finding a member of the community to serve out the remainder of her term. We look forward to receiving a plethora of applications and to welcoming our new colleague," said Board Vice President Pat O'Neill.

Update on Middle School Reform
The Board of Education received an update on the Middle School Reform initiative, which is highlighted by three themes—engaging and rigorous instruction, effective instructional leadership, and professional development. Progress of the initiative can be observed through the gradual transformation of the middle school classroom from the traditional teacher-directed lesson to a lesson in which the teacher serves as a facilitator of learning, and students are empowered to actively participate. Research-based instructional strategies designed for academically and culturally diverse adolescent learners are part of the professional development plan for all middle school staff, and the use of technology is another component of the plan that engages students in learning. "It was wonderful to hear how our staff reach across classrooms to discover and implement the most effective strategies to engage and teach our students. This is what it takes to be successful with our adolescent learners so that all students can be moved to the next level of academic achievement," said Board of Education President Shirley Brandman.

The reform is a multiyear initiative that provides resources to all 38 middle schools. Specific resources were allocated starting in FY 2008 for Phase I schools (Banneker, Clemente, Montgomery Village, Sligo and Wood) and starting in FY 2009 for Phase 2 schools (Eastern, Gaithersburg, Martin Luther King, Lee, Newport Mill, Shady Grove, Silver Spring International, Tilden, Julius West and White Oak). Despite budgetary constraints, MCPS is committed to moving forward with Middle School reform. However, the implementation plan, originally envisioned as a three-year, $10 million reform effort for all 38 middle schools, has been extended, with future phases of Middle School Reform contingent on the MCPS budget.

Administrative Appointments
The Board approved the appointment of eight new MCPS administrators, including two new school principals:

Robert W. Dodd, currently principal, Strathmore Elementary School, as principal, Argyle Middle School
Holly A. Steel, currently principal intern, Sherwood Elementary School, as principal, Clearspring Elementary School
Michelle M. Mach, currently instructional specialist, Longview School, as coordinator, Longview School
Matt W. Johnson, currently acting magnet coordinator, Eastern Middle School, as magnet coordinator, Eastern Middle School
Renee A. Foose, currently director of school performance, Office of School Performance, as director, Department of Testing, Research, and Evaluation
Sonja M. Bloetner, currently acting supervisor, Pre-K-12 ESOL, ESOL Instruction, as supervisor, Pre-K-12 ESOL, ESOL Instruction
Teri L. Musy, currently instructional specialist, Metro Park Field Office, as coordinator, Student Services Appeals Unit
Yolanda C. Speights, currently supervisor, Pupil Personnel Services, Department of Student Services, as coordinator, Student Services Appeals Unit

Champions for Children Awards
The Board recognized staff members and community partners who were recipients of the following 2009 Champions for Children Awards:

Dr. Edward Shirley Award for Excellence in Educational Administration and Supervision—Sandra E. Sengstack, certification coordinator, Office of Human Resources
Montgomery County Teacher of the Year—Bryan S. Goehring, science teacher, Takoma Park Middle School
Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award—Cheryl D. Pulliam, principal, Oakland Terrace Elementary School
Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award—Diane Kolata, Grade 5 teacher, Chevy Chase Elementary School
2009 Rookie Teacher of the Year—Jaclyn E. Klueger, Grade 3 teacher, Sequoyah Elementary School
SEIU Local 500 Supporting Services Employee of the Year—Feri Jahanmir, office assistant, Ridgeview Middle School
Volunteer Champion for Children—Arcola Elementary School Parent Teacher Association
Business Champion for Children—Northrop Grumman Information Systems

Recognition of Asian American Education Association Scholarship Recipients
The Board recognized four students who were awarded $1,000 scholarships by the Asian American Education Association. The scholarships are given to students who plan to major in education and pursue a career as an elementary or secondary teacher. Recipients are:

Jennifer Park, Paint Branch High School
Vivi Sperling, Walt Whitman High School
Lixin Sun, Albert Einstein High School
Donna Yang, Thomas S. Wootton High School

George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy, Inc. High Achievement Scholarship Recipients
The Board congratulated recipients of the George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy, Inc. High Achievement Scholarship awards. The academy awarded $1,000 scholarships to 13 Montgomery County Public Schools students. The scholarship program, sponsored by Verizon Maryland, rewards students with high academic achievement who have either consistently attended the Learning Academy or provided consistent service to the Learning Academy as a volunteer tutor. Recipients are:

Yasamin Abbaszadeh, Sherwood High School
Stacy Biloa, Paint Branch High School
Ashley Brown, Wheaton High School
Kedst Demelash, Wheaton High School
Chelsea Feeney, Damascus High School
Manaye Felleke, Albert Einstein High School
Sylvia Granados, Gaithersburg High School
Carlos Griffin-Benitez, Springbrook High School
David Harris, Montgomery Blair High School
Tyler Robinson, Sherwood High School
Megh Trivedi, Northwest High School
Dehithai Wendeu-Foyet, Watkins Mill High School

Recognition of MCPS–Higher Education Partnerships
The Board recognized and celebrated the 288 graduates of 2008–2009 higher education partnerships, and the myriad programs the school system’s higher education partners bring to support professionals, teachers, and administrators. Higher education partners include Bowie State University, Columbia Union College, Hood College, Johns Hopkins University, McDaniel College, Montgomery College, Towson University, George Washington University, University of Maryland (College Park), University of Maryland University College, and University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

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Montgomery County Board of Education: Ms. Shirley Brandman, president; Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, vice president. Members: Mr. Christopher Barclay, Ms. Laura Berthiaume, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Phil Kauffman, Ms. Nancy Navarro, and Ms. Quratul-Ann Malik, student member. Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617. 

The Montgomery County Board of Education is the official educational policymaking body in the county. The Board is responsible for the direction and operation of the public school system. The Board consists of seven county residents elected by voters for a four-year term and a student elected by secondary school students for a one-year term. Board members are elected countywide but run at-large or from the Board district in which they reside.

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